2006-02-24 / Letters


A Stay At Peninsula Is ‘Dreaded’

Dear Editor,

I had my periodic stay at Peninsula Hospital Center. Same problems as ever- no extra blankets, no Kleenex, and most everything you don’t have when they plop you in a gurney for hours. Then I was (hours later) sent to a room that wasn’t more than forty degrees. What a shame for people who have pneumonia. As usual, all the food was stone cold. I guess the hospital is poor (?) or they’d invest in some metal covers, instead of a cheap plastic cover that keeps the food nowhere near warm. The registered nurses and nurses’ assistants have no authority to do anything at all. I had yet to ring the bell and a nurse or nurse’s assistant came right away. The nurse was supposed to re-insert my IV and couldn’t find a vein. After four painful tries, she couldn’t find it. If she couldn’t do it, she should have found someone who could! They never got it in and the doctor on duty released me a day or two later, and now I’m at home. At least now I am warm and sleeping in a decent bed. I hope CEO Levine reads this and does something after one of his cruises and dinners. I’ve yet to see the DNS; you can sign up all the doctors in the world but when conditions exist as I’ve related, a stay there is dreaded. I’ve been in hospitals periodically through the years and none had conditions that Peninsula Hospital has.


Getting The Terms Right

Dear Editor,

I wish people would stop using the terms liberal and conservative without knowing what they mean. Conservative Barry Goldwater said that government has no business in our bedrooms or in our doctor’s offices. Radicals want government to intrude there. Conservatives are for states rights but those who label themselves conservatives today had the federal government intrude in the Florida state recount vote and in the Teri Schiavo situation.

Liberal Bill Clinton reformed welfare and balanced the budget. Conservative George Bush’s policies have led to the greatest budget deficit in U.S. history. Liberal Bill Clinton’s policies led to 100,000 new police officers on the streets, resulting in a nationwide reduction in crime. Liberal policies regarding handguns and automatic weapons have had the support of most of the street-level police officers in the U.S., while supposed tough-on-crime conservatives have consistently opposed measures to make gun crime tougher to occur. Conservative Barry Goldwater said that our natural resources are assets that need to be cared for because once used cannot be replenished. Those posing as conservatives today have no regard for the environmental and fiscal consequences of depleting natural resources including the diseconomy of the health costs of pollution.

Who is who here? Who is the liberal? Who is truly a conservative? Let’s leave the labels on soup cans and see what is really going on.


Local Libraries Should Be Open On Saturdays

Dear Editor,

I contacted Councilman Joseph Addabbo, Jr. regarding the inadequate access to our local libraries. Both of our local branches, Seaside and Peninsula, are closed on Saturdays, as is Broad Channel and other peninsula branches.

Why are Rockaway residents required to travel approximately seven miles one way (Roxbury/Breezy Point residents approximately 11 miles away) to have access to a library on Saturdays? The Far Rockaway and Howard Beach branches are open over 40 hours a week, including Saturdays from 10-5 p.m.

Considering the number of residents in our community, this is totally unacceptable. How can we promote reading when we can’t get to our library?

Responding to my request, the Councilman wrote to Thomas Galante, Library Director to the Queens Borough Public Library. Galante responded that due to Queens Library 2006 budget ($1 million), he was only able to expand the hours at the Seaside branch by three hours on Monday mornings.

Mr. Galante stated that morning hours were very important, as many senior citizens utilize the library at this time. I applaud Mr. Galante for being attentive to the needs of our seniors. I wish he would give the same consideration to the needs of the many working residents and children, especially those in elementary school who must be accompanied to the library by a parent.

The most recent stats available are from 2000 and do not reflect the large growth recently seen in the Rockaways. The data was taken from www.city-data.com/zips and www.zip-code.com for areas that would utilize the Seaside branch.

From charts, there are a large number of young children in the 11694 area alone.

Working residents with or without children have only one possible time to use the Seaside library- Monday evenings. (Two, if they’re able to get to the Peninsula branch on Thursday evenings) Albeit having branches open until 6 p.m. may work for some residents, it does not afford many working residents and parents with young children the opportunity to use the library, especially since many do not return from work until after 6 p.m.

I urge residents to contact both Councilman Addabbo and Mr. Galante requesting the same services afforded to our Far Rockaway and Howard Beach neighbors- services on Saturdays.

It doesn’t make sense that a public library is not open on a day when the majority of the public is available to use it. What would we do if our parks and museums were closed on Saturdays?


Bummed Out

Over Diner Closing

Dear Editor,

It’s amazing that the Rockaway Peninsula, which has a population of over 150,000 and growing, doesn’t have it’s own movie theatre —and now even more astonishingly, it’s own diner.

The closing of the Sunset Diner / Ram’s Horn is a big blow to the community.

Granted, it wasn’t a 4-star dining experience, but it was always a bright, comfortable place where Rockawayites from every age or background came together for an inexpensive and casual meal at a convenient location.

Being 42 years old and having grown up in Arverne, I can’t recall a time when the Sunset Diner/ Ram’s Horn wasn’t there. I have a lot of memories through the years of going there with my youth league basketball teammates; taking me Mum there for Mother’s Day; bringing my nephews there after a Mets game; or just hanging out with friends when we wanted to “stay local.”

The ownership and staff changed numerous times but in a way it belonged to all of us, as everyone has an anecdote or a memory from the Ram’s Horn.

To be sure, Rockaway still has its share of restaurants and some of them are quite good. But where else can you get a quick bite and a cup of coffee, read the paper and get out quickly?

I realize it was only a diner and the owner has the right to sell it to whomever he wants. But I’m actually bummed out over this.


Can’t Understand Cartoons

Dear Editor,

For a while, I should say for a long time, I have tried to understand the meanings of Mr. Sarnoff’s Editorial Cartoons. 

To be honest with you, I was embarrassed to ask.

Then, someone else brought up the subject. He couldn’t understand them either. 

In a flash, everybody in the room manifested the same “ignorance.”

My, my, was I glad to find out that I am not alone.  For instance, take last week’s cartoon, “A Heartbeat Away.” 

It shows our first Vice President, Mr. Cheney (recognizable by his hat) shooting in the bushes. Nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, I am sure he wishes he had made all his shooting in the bushes. Can someone tell me the meaning of the title, “A Heartbeat Away,” the cartoon and, specially, of the subtitle “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” (we all know the meaning of that phrase, but where and how does it apply to Mr. Cheney’s sad event?)

Is Mr. Sarnoff trying to present the event as it was or is he trying to satirize it?  According to the Webster’s Dictionary, the word  “satirize” means  “the use of irony or sarcasm to ridicule someone.” I am perplexed; nothing in the cartoon, title and subtitle expresses either of the two meanings.  

On the same page, I saw Mr. Sarnoff’s article, “Fired?”  reporting that Mr. Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense is, “ inspecting a soldier whose arms and legs were amputated,” and deemed him “ battle hardened.” I wish I could have been there to “read” the soldier’ mind.  I am pretty sure I would have “heard”:  “Mr. Rumsfeld, thank you for the compliment, but I wish it were your son you were talking to, you bastard.”  Is losing both arms and legs what takes to make a man out of a boy?  Yes, Mr. Sarnoff, I agree with you on this one. The satirist reporting the event shouldn’t be fired; he is protected by the “freedom of expression,” but Mr. Rumsfeld should be for his cruel, uncalled for remarks.               


Reprint The Flag Code

Dear Editor,

I am writing to request your help. Several years ago (late 2000) I had written to Mr. Locke to request that he republish something originally published on 6/15/91. Mr. Locke had called me after receiving my letter and stated that he firmly believed this should be republished, if not on a yearly basis, then at least every other year.

There is a young man (in his mid-twenties) who lives next to me who flies the flag every day and night, not lit, and in any weather. He flies the Irish flag (his heritage, but not his birthplace) above the American flag, which he has been asked by several neighbors not to do. He refuses to lower the flag on Memorial Day.

I have made copies of the Flag Code for him but he says that he “spoke to his mother, who is a teacher, and knows about these things,” and she told him there is “no such thing.”

I am begging you to reprint the Flag Code, and I will personally put it in his mailbox.


More Fire Stations

Could Help

Dear Editor,

An afternoon fire on January 26, 2006 originated in a sixth floor apartment of a housing project. Upon arrival, firefighters were confronted with a well-advanced fire made worse by very high winds. Fire conditions quickly deteriorated even further and during the early stages of fire extinguishing operations, a member of Ladder Company 121 executed an exceptional act of valor in the highest traditions of the FDNY, when he rescued two brother firefighters who had become lost and disoriented when the sixth floor public hallway suddenly became untenable due to extremely high heat and smoke conditions.

Firefighters recalled that this fire building was the very same building where a brother firefighter, James B. Williams, was killed while extinguishing a major fire in 1996.

A total of eight civilians were injured at this fire and 24 firefighters were also injured, many of whom were removed to local hospitals and burn centers.

It should be noted that two fire companies have been closed in the Rockaways over the years. Both would have responded to this recent major hi-rise fire if they were still in service. The two closed fire units are Engine 267, closed in 1972, formerly at 92-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard; and Ladder 171, closed in 1975, formerly of 402 Beach 169 Street.

The closing of these two Rockaway firefighting units has had a permanent negative impact on the entire Rockaway peninsula. The Rockaways is an extremely geographically isolated area with a very long history of large and serious fires. The present Rockaway fire protection situation is made even more severe to the negative side because all of the six Rockaway engine companies are currently undermanned, with only four firefighters per tour of duty. Fire experts state that a four-person engine company is 30% less effective than a five-person engine company. Yet, the Fire Commissioner and the Mayor does nothing about it. Shame on them!

Serious fires in oceanfront hi-rise apartment houses are common in New York City. Only recently, on January 22, 2006, three children died in a similar hi-rise apartment house fire in Coney Island, an area of Brooklyn where two local fire companies have been closed down over the years. What are the Fire Commissioner and the Mayor waiting for? Lives are at stake!


Welcome New

Republican Club

Dear Editor,

In last week’s Beachcomber, it was noted that a new Republican club might be sprouting on the peninsula to rival the Rockaway Republicans. That’s great news if it means that Republicans in Rockaway are finally coming out of the closet, even if some still seem to be reluctant to do this publicly since the Beachcomber referred to them anonymously. We wish our Republican neighbors well and offer support for their new effort and certainly look forward to working with them in the future.

By the way, I would like to clarify another point made in that same Beachcomber column when it was suggested that those interested in starting a new Republican club in the Rockaways were doing so with Mayor Bloomberg’s support BECAUSE the Rockaway Republicans ostensibly supported the mayor’s opponent, Tom Ognibene. In fact the Rockaway Republicans did not endorse either candidate in the primary campaign that preceded the election because we were split with about 60% of our membership for Ognibene and 40% for the mayor.

Because we believe that being Republican is more important than any single candidate, we include among our members Republicans of all stripes and welcome all. We neither endorsed Bloomberg nor Ognibene, though members of our group worked in each of the candidate’s campaigns.

At the end of the day, Mayor Bloomberg was the Republican Party nominee and our members voted as their conscience directed them. That’s what democracy’s about and one of the reasons we founded the Rockaway Republicans.

Still, we welcome a new Republican club to the peninsula and stand ready to help them get off the ground. We think more Republicans are better than fewer and that it’s high time we had electoral choice again at the local level. Hopefully we’ll be able to work with the new club in the future in finding and fielding good candidates for local office and supporting the best people at the city, state and federal levels.




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